How To Become An Indie Recording Artist

Several streams ran together to bring me to the dream of being a recording artist.  I was six or seven years old the first time Bill Duncan came home from college for the summer.  With a collection of Frat profiled guys they set up in the garage with a drum set (Oh wow! Drums) impressing me completely.  Another guy had an electric guitar.  I had never seen one except on TV.  He had a Fender Amplifier and today I’d be able to sell it for a small fortune, as vintage.  Another one of the guys had a second guitar and both guitars were plugged into the Fender Amp.  Bill Duncan was doing the singing.


Tommy, Doug, Mike and I, all showed up at the open garage door right across the street from our house.  “House of the Rising Son”, “My Girl”, “Brown Eyed Girl” and oh man, “Wipe Out.  Us neighborhood kids would have paid 50 cents to hear that concert.  In reality it was a garage band practice with lots of oh, that was wrongs, stops, spurts etc.  But it was our first Rock Concert.


Through the next few years, Bill and his band would gather during Christmas Break, Spring Break and Summer Break.  “The Letter”, “98.6”, “Hungry.” “Louie, Louie”, “Gloria.”  Doug and I had the best ticket in the neighborhood.  Got to know Mike, the drummer, and he would let Mike and I, play some as we got a little older.


Then, mom and I talked dad into a portable Philco Stereo with a fold out turntable and two speakers you could remove from hanging hinge hooks to get massive stereo separation.  Dad bought a roller cart with a record rack underneath.  He also bought a Record, Royal Guardsmen, Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, and a box set of 45’s.  Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel in the box set.  In the early sixties these guys, Royal Guardsmen, had long permed hair.  Hippies.  The first record I got after that was Paul Revere and the Raiders, Greatest Hits.  Knew them from Where The Action Is, TV Show.


I talked dad into a drum and joined the Summer Band, then the regular school band and all I wanted to be was a drummer in a Rock-N-Roll Band.  I had a reputation with the family for singing, like bird.  But Mark Lindsey’s hardcore delivery was the style I liked.  Oh man in 1967 Jim Morrison.  “I want to sound like that.”  Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees was an influence too.  I’m Not Your Stepping Stone Rocks, I don’t care what anybody says.  I loved the Rolling Stones and a bunch of the Mo-Town and of course Chuck Berry.



On my 14th Birthday I finally talked dad into a crappy Norma guitar for $ 20.00 at a record shop on Colfax Ave, in Aurora, Colorado.  A friend got us in touch with Gloria who taught guitar in the summer and I and my brother started learning the guitar.  Reading music and all.  There is no music written for the guitar worth reading.  Except Mannheim Steamroller Chorus of the Bells.  Once we moved to Kansas City I went to the Toon Shop and took guitar lessons from Carrick Mustion still reading music.  Learned Barre Chords in study hall, from Chris Buellens.


Long story short, I had a genuine Spiritual Transformation through Jesus who was crucified and raised from the dead.  I know it.  Colossians 2: 13, 14, 15: 13 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumscision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness (THE INDICTMENT) which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.  15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities [THERE’S NO INDICTMENT] he made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross.” (NIV)  In other words he set me aside from under the indictment.  I’m free as a bird.  Sermon’s over.  John 19: 30!


I began writing songs about this experience, I was living in, the Spirit of Grace.  In 1996, I started to record a couple handfuls of them.  Got a few great musicians on the cheap because I knew them. Fairly famous, well-respected as players who helped make the recordings amazing in my opinion.


Another long story short due to the Lord educating me about indictments, physics, statistics and differential equations (BSME) the recordings were not mixed and mastered until 2014.


My dad had taken pictures while in Alaska in 2005.  One of them caught my eye and I decided to use it on the CD and the cover.




Songs by Chris Queen ©  Acoustic Guitar/Vocals Chris Queen; Produced by Paul Clark, Drums on Love’s Been Abandoned Paul Clark; Bass, Don Harris (He’s played on everything, with everyone, listen and you’ll hear why); Jay Pfeifer, Keyboards and Pianos, Formerly of Waterdeep, gives Ray Manzarek a run for his money here;  Rod Lincoln, Drums/Mixing/Mastering, formerly of Shooting Star.  Thanks to them all.  I am proud to have them on the record.  “It’s a Rockin Little Record I Want My Jockey To Play.”  Rock-N-Rollers like it and I was never interested in entertaining the saints.  GO HERE Free Listening Samples.  CD and Downloads.


How to become an Indie Recording Artist is not very complicated from there.  The songs in the can, as they say, a reference to cans that audiotape was stored in.  These days submitting demos to record companies is a waste of effort.  People buy music direct from independent artists.  The big artists are doing live these days because there is no money in records like there used to be.  So I sent the masters off to Bob Cotterel at Creative Sound Corp., in California along with the CD artwork file my brother and I produced in the computer ourselves, in Paint.  Bob did a great job and it looks cool.


Bob cut me a deal on printed CD’s and we did the cover art ourselves.  Fed Ex Office, on card stock like paper.  Had the first ones in hand.  Then got a tip from a friend to put the CD and Download Tracks and Full Album on CD Baby. 


I don’t remember the exact cost to get things up on CD Baby, around 100.00 if I recall.  (  I think they have a free program now for Independent Artists.  Joined ASCAP and put the record up.  For a long time I did not do any promotion except on my facebook page.  I made a fan page and not much happened.


Then one day about 9 months ago I got in touch with them to re-acquire my site info, login etc.,because I was pushing 500 likes.  My wife invited facebook friends to my page.  I also ran into Bob, an old friend.  We were filling up at the gas station and Nancy was blaring the CD.  I shouted and he came over on his bicycle.  He asked who is this music by?  Nancy said, “Him.” Pointing at me.  Bob let me know he thought the record was good.  We traded info.  I sent him a link to the fan page.  Later I sent him the DC Baby site Url.  Here’s the URL: CD Baby: Copy and Paste it, share it or GO HERE  Now I’m pushing 1,000 likes.


And now this post will go out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google and I will Press it on Facebook’s network.  That’s how you do it.  I’m having fun with it.  I’d like to make another record and play electric like in the old days.  “But uh, First Are You Experienced?”  Have a great day and stop putting things off and pursue your dreams.  Chris Queen 11/30/2018.